29 Jan 2012

Someone I'm very proud of...

Here we are it's Sunday and I have been busy looking through some old family photographs.

I guess we have all heard about a film called War Horse, but for me it reminds me of my GreatGrandad (by the way, I was very fortunate to have known him up to my teen years).   I really felt like sharing this with you as I've come across this photograph of him at the end of WWI photographed still in France before they came back.



on the back of this photo it says: 'AJ Keen  France 1918'   -  He was always known as Jimmy Keen

(unfortunately I don't know the name of the horse)

a very proud and brave man but I think you will agree that his expression shows the strain of some of the things he must have seen.  I do know that on one occasion some of the horses got loose and he went out 'under fire' and got them back.  His Commanding Officer said he would get the highest military medal for that act, but sadly his CO was killed before he could make it official.

His love of horses had been with him from his boyhood years, born in Ireland and coming over to England at about the age of 12 he worked as a stable lad.  This is how he met my Great Granny, Angelina Burrell, as he worked as stable lad to her family, they fell in love and the rest is history as they say.  Great Grandad then got a job in racing yards.  I know at one time they were in Cranbourne (that was in 1905 when my Gran with born) and then back to Sussex in 1910 and the Downs Stable yard in Findon where he was Head Lad.  He was devoted to his family but also his horses which were so much a part of his life.  


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17 comments:

  1. Very interesting post, Ann, he does look proud and brave! I love family histories and old photographs. I have inherited old albums from my mother and grandmother, and my granny wrote her "memoires" by hand, all very interesting stuff!

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  2. Thank you for sharing! Have a nice day!

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  3. What a great photo - a handsome, if strained, gentleman, indeed. Also a lovely story.

    xoxo

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  4. Wonderful picture and story! How lucky for you that you had a chance to know him! I too love family history and stories. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. I love reading this family history. What a story. Falling in love with the stable lad is such movie material! ;-) You could do a series of drawings about it all. Yes, you can be very proud of your GGFather. thanks so much for sharing this Ann. I am in the process of drawing my grand grands on cloth right now for a fiber art piece. I never had the honor of meeting mine.

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  6. So neat to see old photographs, but even more when the story behind them is known. I particularly like old photos with horses or dogs or other animals and wonder what kind of lives they had back then. It's wonderful to hear when a military man was also a lover of horses, because his horse would have been particularly well cared for. War is so very hard on animals, too, after all! He sounds like a very great and kind man.

    (Visiting today from Artists in Blogland!)

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  7. Thank you everyone for your comments here. I didn't realise so many of you would find this so fascinating, but really pleased you do.

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  8. Isn't it wonderful that you have this picture?!? And that you have his love of horses! And...I'm sure bravery and work ethic!

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    1. Hi Annie, The love of horses has also spread to our daughter, who is a natural horsewoman with them...I like to think he would be proud of her too.

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  9. What a lovely post Ann, so interesting to read about your great granddad, a true piece of history. I realize that as I am growing older I am getting more interested in the past, and this is a real treat :-)

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    1. Thanks Jane - I know what you mean, I enjoy looking through family history and am hopeful of meeting up with some relatives on this side of the family.

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  10. What a lovely photo to find. It would make a lovely painting, but I guess you already thought of that!!
    Have a great upcoming week!

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    1. Thanks Nora - yes it is something I'm going to do:)

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  11. I am fascinated not only by the family history you shared, and it is wonderful if poignant, but how skills and interests seem to be handed down along with the expected genetic qualities.

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    1. Thanks Judith - it is interesting I know what you mean. In fact my late mum, although she didn't have contact with horses in the same way, wasn't scared or intimidated by them. Where I grew up in the New Forest horses roamed freely (more so back then) but I remember horses in our front garden (I was about 7 at the time). My mum went out and moved them and these are wild horses - and low and behold they moved! There she was in the middle of them, not a care in the world and they moved out of the garden and up the road! I know so, because I was watching from indoors. So looking back she must have had the same affinity with them - she was confident, not scared and they knew it and did as she asked.

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  12. Hello Ann!! What a treasure this picture is!! I have so enjoyed this post and reading about your Great Grandad, as well as the comments that have followed your post! You are so right about those that have a natural affinity for horses, I've known people that way as well. I have to admit that while I think they are amazing and so beautiful, I'm afraid of them--I have been since I was a kid and they seem to know that, just as they know that they should respect your Mother!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed this post Kim. Sorry that you are afraid of horses, but thank goodness you are not the same with dogs, or all the great work you do at Golden Pines would be lost.....

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